Travel 2020 - TBC

Currently traveling
January - October 2020
Currently traveling
  • Day54

    Pushkar —> Jodhpur Day train

    February 28 in India ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C

    Woke up around 8 and chilled in bed for a little while, there had been a lot of chill in Pushkar and I liked it, however I was definitely ready to get going again and as I was feeling much better today I could actually think about how we get out of Pushkar. We both got a shower (who knows when the next hot one will be) packed up our things and we checked out before the 11am check out time.

    As we’d be on a train a lot of the day, we went to grab some breakfast, and eventually found a little cafe and got butter toast and honey for 30 rupee. It was a weird blend, but certainly gave the energy we needed to get out the hostel and get the bus to Ajmer. We walked in the heat to the bus stop with one of the guys go took us to the wedding and the bus arrived minutes after. We bought our tickets from the counter and battled our way onto the bus to get seats, after a few minutes those people who were just battling to get on the bus started to filter off to get their tickets...instead of getting tickets and then getting on the bus like a normal human being. Eventually, the bus departed and we got to Ajmer bus station. We wanted a Tuktuk and played the different drivers off one another for the best price. To minutes later we jumped in a TukTuk to the train station and waited for our train. It arrived only 20 minutes late, we boarded and watched the chaos as people tried to find their seats, it was painful watching them...they had been living in India all their lives, all the signs are in their local language and they couldn’t figure it out, whereas Tom and I managed easily. The train set off at 14:55 and we were on our way to Jodphur! On the train, the chaos never stopped with people still struggling to find their right seat and also the weird man sat in front of us taking selfies with us in the background and sending them to his friends - however, we had now become used to this here. Surprisingly, we had loads of space on this train with loads of leg room and a free seat, so we stretched our end enjoyed the ride. The last hour is where this journey got weird...we were put on FaceTime with a family, had numerous interviews about where we were from etc, the last thing we wanted. We even had a guy sit with us for about 30 mins and interrogate is about what we did, and what two generations back in our families did...clearly trying to set us up. He then pulled out a little black book and asked for our UK address. I thought on my feet and gave him a blend of both mine and Tom’s home address : 16 Esholt Crescent, Barnsley, UK, BD14 4PL. This was all made super awkward as this guy kept trying to either shake hands or high five with Tom, but each time it needed in an awkward mid air hand holding. We decided that from this point we’d just say we were married!! There were a couple of kids on the train who wanted to lay, so we played guns and shooting with them from between the seats - this was met with hysterical laughter from the kids.

    Finally we arrived in Jodhpur and as the hostel was only 2km away an that was our upper limit for walking we set off. By this time it was about 8pm so we were hungry. We walked up the Main Street and found a place called Al-Haq who specialised in mutton. Although we’d been veggie for pretty much all our trip, we both fancied a bit of meat and rice. This plate arrived and it was amazing, the tastes and textures made a nice change from veg thali. We made it to our guesthouse within the old city walls and it was pretty nice with a great rooftop view of the fort perched 400ft on top of cliffs. After our long day, we decided to get some rest as we were going to explore the blue city of Jodhpur tomorrow.
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  • Day53

    Pushkar day #4

    February 27 in India ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    I was not feeling good, still, so I asked to go and get some dry food for me...so looked like he was having bananas and crackers for breakfast and Tom also had the same. We chilled out at the hostel for a bit. A lot of this in Pushkar so far but it felt as if it was the perfect place to do it and we both thought we were going to feel refreshed after just slowing down a bit. Desperate times called for desperate measures...I’ve never been one to take pills when I’m sick, but I took some Imodium, 2 in fact, and after a little while we went out to get Thali from the 50rupee Thali place...I ordered one this time but only wanted the rice and the chapatti so I donated the curry to Tom, much to his delight. After food, which I choked down and Tom wolfed down as his potion was now massive, we walked to the lake and chilled outside the Ghats.

    We just watched the world go by...firstly we watched 2 women get completely scammed by some man giving them a blessing next to the holy lake... but they seemed to be buying it so it was fine. Secondly, an older guy was being told to take his shoes off in the Ghat area and he was not happy about it at all. We were trying to figure out where he was from, and then he said in the most German accent ever “why do I have to take my shoes off, everything is so dirty here” which seemed to really upset the men sat around who seemed to be policing the rules and also waiting for westerners to come by to scam when they started saying “if you think it is dirty then leave”. Really friendly people. Thirdly, a local man saying to a girl stroking a dog “I don’t like dogs, I kick them”....which really summed up how backwards and generally stupid so many Indian people were, especially with animals.

    After all this people watching, we made our way back to the hostel for (you guessed it) some chill time. After a few hours I started to feel a bit better so we decided to venture out to the sunset spot that the hostel recommended we did for sunrise (we didn’t, oops). On the walk I began to turn bad again and dove into a grubby little hotel with only squat toilets available. Tom suggested numerous times that we turn back but I was being stubborn and wanted to carry on...I already felt bad for not managing to do a lot of thins here in Pushkar and Tom has been my carer. I insisted we continued so we did for a little while however half way up the viewpoint I was really struggling. Tom changed his approach and said that he couldn’t be arsed to continue anymore...obviously a little white lie but I took it and we turned back just as the sun set. Tom was wanting to grab some food on the way back, so I left him to it as I shuffled back feeling terrible and bloated. With the fear of the runs, I quickened my pace but when I got back and rushed to the toilet it was only gas!!! The Imodium worked a treat!! Upon Tom returning, let him know the good news and so we both got showered and watched “We’re the Millers” on the iPad and then both passed out.
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  • Day52

    Pushkar day #3

    February 26 in India ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Tom woke up at around 830 and I was still asleep so Very kindly he left me to it whilst I lazed in my bed for a little while...the beds were almost too comfy to leave. After a while I got up, used the hot showers and we chilled out in the room and then on the balcony, looking into our route for Nepal and booking some bits for India too. The music in the streets weals certainly still going, in fact this morning it was directly below our hostel. It was around 13:30 before we actually left the hostel today but, you certainly need those days when you’re travelling to just rest up a bit, especially when you’re not feeling too well.

    We went to the 50 rupee thali place for lunch, but again I couldn’t eat a thing so sat and watched Tom devour his meal. Tom very kindly gave me a scrap of chapati and some plain rice - making me feel like a stray dog - but this was all I could stomach. We wandered to the other side of the lake and came across a troop of big monkeys going about their business. We arrived to where the Brahma temple was - the only one in the world apparently. It was a big pink temple but no photos were allowed inside and we also had to leave our bags in a storage locker for free. It was pretty, but not as spectacular as the ones in Hampi or even on our day exploring north it Udaipur, so we left pretty quick and decided we’d go and find a bum bag to hold our things for during the Holi festivities. We looked around with some guy insisting his bag was real Diesel branded but I’m pretty sure diesel was spelt wrong. We eventually found one which would do the job and bartered it down to 300 rupees. I was still feeling pretty awful, so we headed back via the Sikh Temple where we had to wear funny little headscarves before going in. It was dead quiet and actually a beautiful temple made of white marble. We went back for some more chill time on our beautiful rooftop and we looked further into the Nepal route.

    We headed back out to town for dinner and I grabbed myself another falafel wrap as I was still not too keen on curry, but it still wouldn’t fix me!! Tom grabbed yet another thali on the way back to the hostel and we just got ourselves a hot shower and an early night again - these beds were amazing!!!
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  • Day51

    Pushkar lake and Indian Wedding!

    February 25 in India ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Tom has said that he woke up at 8am, and I was still asleep...the bed was so comfy and warm that he decided to try and get some more sleep as Wed been going non stop for weeks and needed to reset! He woke back up at 9 and I still wasn’t awake, this is how Tom knew I was ill...as I was always awake before him! I eventually surfaced just after 11 and found Tom chilling on the rooftop. He recommended that we go out and get some watermelon, apparently a good snack if you have diarrhoea...? So we did just that, on our way into town an old hippie Indian guy who was chilling out at the blue temple where the hippie men hung out offered Tom a drag of his joint...we didn’t have a clue what he was smoking, but certainly didn’t want to try it! We got into town and paid 100 rupees for a full watermelon, we found a spot around the lake where we weren’t being pestered by the scammer trying to “gift” us with a flower and a blessing and then demand money from us...nor were we being shouted at for carrying our shoes and we ate the entire watermelon!

    We then walked around the lake anti-clockwise, past numerous people bathing in the holy lake and were constantly being hassled for carrying our shoes. We chilled out at our favourite spot, just outside one of the Ghats on the steps and took in the surroundings whilst talking about random things including the purposes of fizzy water...why would you drink fizzy water!? We were obviously going crazy or running out of things to talk about. We made our way back to the hostel for some more chill out time before we made our way to the sunset viewpoint. We had agreed that we would meet the German guy (from Konstanz) from our hostel, Joel at the top of the viewpoint as he was going to get food first. We made our way up the tracks, walking past a woman who was suspiciously cleaning something up on one of the rocks...we come to the conclusion she had taken a shit at the side of the tracks and was now desperately trying to clean it up.

    We continued and before long we got to the top of the viewpoint, which was a temple and of course you weren’t allowed shoes inside...however it looked like an awful temple it was really the view you come here for...we decided to keep our shoes on and just perch on a nearby rock to enjoy the sunset. We were joined by Joel, we chatted and enjoyed a nice sunset. Before it got dark we made our way into the town where George and I grabbed a famous Pushkar falafel from lafa falafel, the spot in Pushkar where 3 falafel stores sit adjacent to one another and customers enjoy their food on-street-seating. It was pretty good, nothing on the ones we had in the Philippines though! We thought we’d make our way back to the hostel for a chilled night.....

    Upon arriving back at the hostel the guy behind the check-in desk said to Joel he had good and bad news. The bad news was that his washing wasn’t going to be done in time for his checkout because the man who does the laundry is getting married today. However the good news was that by means of an apology he was invited to his wedding. Seems like a pretty good apology to us! He proceeded to say the three of us were invited and even showed us the very official invitation card he had received. Tom was 100% up for it as he’s always wanted to attend an Indian wedding and even more so here in India. It took some convincing for me to be up for it with my current stomach situation but eventually I agreed to join.

    We changed into some jeans, still with my scruffy jumper on and got into the party TukTuk that was waiting for us outside the hostel. The wedding was in Ajmer, the town that we arrived into on the train and the “15 minute drive” turned into a 45 minute drive, hanging onto the back of the TukTuk as the driver (who was high) drove far too quickly, meandering through traffic and not slowing down for speed bumps. However, we got to talk to the guys who were working at the hostel, Amit and Micky and they were both really nice guys! Eventually we arrived at the venue, after checking it was the right wedding as so many weddings were taking place today. The entrance was very grand and I could feel 1,000 eyes looking at us as we entered the venue. However, everyone was warm and welcoming to us. Handshake and handshake and selfie after selfie we made our way round the wedding, enjoying the fantastic food that was on offer. I had a paneer curry, vegetable kofta curry, biriyani with freshly made chipatis and naan breads. As I was eating the delicious food, taking in my surroundings it hit me that it was a much more sophisticated than I was expecting. People were stood around chatting and enjoying their food, it felt more like a get together, not a wedding. After finishing the food I dumped my plate into one of the many huge buckets that had been put out to collect cutlery and we made our way over to meet the bride and the groom. I had spoken to Micky on the way and he told me that this was an arranged marriage by their parents, who also paid for this occasion...on average about 1 million Indian rupees, or £10,000 for a wedding of this scale. We waited in a queue to meet the bride and groom, got a picture with them, said our congratulations, got a sweet as hell coffee (Tom got 3 for him and had mine too!) and were back in the TukTuk on our way back to the hostel. The journey back was equally rough but we got back at around 11:30, where we made my way straight to bed having ticked off one more thing from the bucket list.
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  • Day50

    Pushkar and the infamous Delhi Belly

    February 24 in India ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    I didn’t get much sleep last night, it was very cold and I was unprepared for that and the India guys who had the beds around us were (of course) loud and obnoxious throughout the night. However, the train got to Ajmer 35 minutes early (without any notification). It was the classic case of get off then figure it out. We’d heard about a bus to Pushkar but had no idea where it went from. With various Tuktuk drivers offering us lifts costing the equivalent of two nights’ accommodation, we decided to walk the 2km to the bus station - quite nice after being cooped up on the train for 6 hours. We got to the bus station and asked where the bus to Pushkar was, one person told us it was the one leaving right now but we didn’t trust it so I went to the station master and asked...bus 22 it was then. We got on and waited for a driver to turn up. Meanwhile we tried to listen in on conversations to confirm of this was to Pushkar. After I demolished half my Oreos which I hadn’t eaten as I felt awful the previous night, we were on our way.

    The bus journey was only 14km and only cost us the equivalent of 16pence each and it seemed to stop for people wherever they wanted which was perfect as our hostel was a little walk from the Pushkar bus station. I got up and motioned to the conductor that we wanted to get off, after a while she blew her whistle and we were dropped just 500m from the hostel...result! We got there, groggy and in desperate need of sleep and as it was only 07:30 and check in was at 13:00 we headed to the rooftop in search of a makeshift bed for a few hours. In truth, we both slept until midday and we only woke because the sun started to bear down on us! We got up, checked in and then set out to have a look at Pushkar. I was still feeling pretty terrible with very frequent trips to the toilet, so we packed the loo roll just in case - the joys of India. On the way to town was a thali place we’d been recommended, only 50 rupees. Tom grabbed one and I just had our bottle of water. It was a massive thali, and obviously amazing value. I grabbed some bananas for the walk round town and we made our way to Pushkar Lake, or the holy lake.

    Pushkar is a prominent pilgrimage town where devout Hindus should visit at least once in their lifetime. We were both pleasantly surprised by this place, with a population of only 21,000 it was by far the smallest place we’d been in India, and it was refreshingly quiet and lacked the constant hassling we got in Mumbai and Udaipur. We chilled round the lake, which is a strict no shoes or socks zone - although cows can walk around all day and shit where they like. The town of Pushkar curls around the holy lake, which was said to have appeared when Brahma dropped a lotus flower...not sure if we believed that but it was pretty nonetheless. We found a shaded spot where there were a few pool with kids playing and the locals having their daily rituals. We had a few people come up to us and try some sort of scam where they give you a petal and then ask for money, and we also had a guy who started saying over and over “I am Indian” and then he stood right in front of me and blocked my view. Even though the town was clean for India, we still watched in awe as people came down to the lake, had a bath and then filled up their water bottles for later. From where we were sat we could see that the water wasn’t clear...these guys must have stomachs of steel!! After a while we went for a little walk and checked out some of the market street and a few other places we’d been recommended including a pizzeria and a falafel place. After seeing the pizza place, we’d decided there and then that we’d treat ourselves tonight and go for it! As we were both up for taking it easy, we headed back to the hostel as we knew they had hot water showers - a rarity in all of India it seems.

    On the way back the sudden urge to go to the toilet hit me in the worst way...I took a gamble on a fart and realised I needed to get to a western toilet in the next two minutes or I’d have to resort to the street! I grabbed the bag off Tom, which had to loo roll in, and ran back to the hostel and made it just in time. We showered and watched the sunset from our roof terrace and then headed back into town for our first western meal since leaving home. The pizza place was a little haven from the craziness of India...no roadside eating tonight, it was a beautiful courtyard with mellow music and a cool buzz about it. We ordered a good old margarita and a pepper onion pizza. We were even more excited when the table next to us had a pizza arrive...it looked bloody good. Ours arrived and we halved both to make two 50:50 pizzas and we savoured every mouthful...not much more can be said about this except that we splashed out and it only cost £3 each! Being very satisfied, we ambled back to the hostel, me stepping in a huge cow poo on the way back, chilled on the rooftop listening to music and writing the blog before hitting the extremely comfy beds for a well deserved rest, provided the Indian wedding happening nearby didn’t keep us up.
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  • Day49

    Scooter day from Udaipur

    February 23 in India ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    I woke up just after 8 and made our way up to the roof terrace for our breakfast. We were the only ones there again, just like our first morning, so naturally we were complete pigs and ate most of the food. Oops! (I was going to miss that jam). After brekkie we got all our stuff together, dumped our bags in the common area and checked out as we were leaving for Pushkar on a night train tonight. We then waited in the reception area for our scooter that we had arranged yesterday, of course it was still late despite the 16 hour notice...

    Eventually, the scooter turned up. It was an awful, grey bike that looked like it was falling apart and had been spray painted really badly to make it look newer than it was. When we started droving it actually felt worse than it looked...the bracket that was screwed onto the front of the bike made it sound like a clattery old van each time we went over a speed bump or hole in the road. The lights didn’t work, which was eventful through a dark tunnel on a motorway and the indicators made the loudest beep ever. The driving experience here was much more chaotic than it was in Goa, firstly two guys wanted to race us numerous times, then bikes would drive beside us wanting conversations with us....eventually we made it to Eklingji temple, a 24km drive from our hostel. It was hidden away in a busy town, which was weird considering we had hardly passed anybody on our way here. We queued up outside for quite some time, with no shoes or socks but eventually we got inside, following the queue all the way round, we were quite confused exactly to what the people were actually praying to. It was a really nice temple and was very detailed, but no pictures were allowed here. We made our way back to our bike, after being rushed to put our shoes back on by two girls...and then made our way to Sahastra Bahu temples, which was an awesome temple, incredibly intricate and well preserved. There were a group of local people chilling outside the temple playing western music, but in true Indian fashion would skip each song after about 20 seconds... we actually enjoyed the Western music for a little while whilst exploring the temple. Whilst in the temple we met a group of Aussies who were in India for their sons wedding in a dry state of India and were telling us of the festivities that followed their wedding.

    Back on our moped we made our way to a pin Tom had found on maps.me for a “mountain viewpoint”, having no clue what it actually looked like we thought we’d check it out anyway. On the journey we drove through the middle of nowhere, passing by really rural villages. It felt very Middle Eastern, with dry landscape and very square buildings, almost what I imagined Afghanistan to look like. When we got to the viewpoint we enjoyed the hazy view of the mountainous landscape and watched an older guy herding his goats and generally enjoyed the peace and quiet - as you don’t come across that in India too often. After enjoying the view we drove to Lake Badi, after a bumpy journey we got to a parking area where we left our bike for 20 rupee to go and check out a nice viewpoint overlooking the reservoir. On the walk back to our bike we of course had to have our picture taken with a few Indian guys and then we were going to make our way to The Monsoon palace which could be seen from our hostels roof terrace.

    However, on the drive the sound of the engine changed and increased in volume by about 100%, we stopped to check out what had happened...the exhaust had fallen off. We attempted to carry on but it was scraping on the floor, so instead of causing further damage to an already broken bike we thought we’d better come up with a solution. We ripped the string out from the seat cover and used this to hold up the exhaust so it wouldn’t scrape along the ground as we drove. It was however, still the loudest bike the whole of India but at least we could move however with not much power anymore. We thought we’d go straight back to the hostel and talk to the hostel to sort out getting some money back for this bike, as it really was rubbish. On the way back to Udaipur we couldn’t pick up much speed and the moped was absolutely screeching...to make things even worse there were lots of diversions around Udaipur meaning we had to meander through the backstreets, through the chaotic traffic to get back to our hostel. We got back to the hostel and we were both a little pissed off. We spoke firstly with the front of house at the hostel who called the man who’s bike it was... after about half hour he turned up. He was an absolute crook this guy, accusing us of breaking his bike... after a little while we managed to get the message across to both him and the guys at the hostel that it was nothing to do with us but instead how this guy had looked after his bike over the years and how it was unacceptable and to our surprise we managed to get a full refund...result! It did help that I had the key to the bike held ransom.

    After that drama we went to get Thali from “the food corner” our favourite local place in Udaipur. As we were sat down I suddenly announced that I needed an emergency toilet trip...up I got and ran out of the restaurant leaving Tom to order our Thali’s and an extra curry and rice to share. I had to go all the way to the rooftop of the hostel as we’d checked out already and returned after perhaps 5 minutes, with some shitty (literally) news, I had the shits. Finally, it had got to one of us. Thankfully, it didn’t affect my appetite though and the mountain of food arrived and we both devoured it, and it was delicious, we were going to miss this place! We said our goodbyes to the owner of the restaurant and went back to the hostel to chill out until in the common room, where Tom FaceTimed home and I just began to feel awful getting closer and closer to a foetal position on the floor. At about 9:45pm we left the hostel and got a TukTuk to the train station. We had been fighting to get it for 80 rupees but finally settled on 100...the journey was awful, he actually crashed into a moped (and sped off) and then almost skidded into a car so when we arrived at the train station and he expected 100 rupees. Is I felt like shit I explained pretty brutally that this was the worst tutkuk journey of my life and I only have him 80 rupees as he didn’t deserve the full fare...safe to say he was fuming!

    We found our platform and there was a train waiting there, we asked an official if this was our train to Ajmer, she said yes, good job we checked with two guys on the train as it was actually going to Jaipur... ours was the next train coming through. We waited on the platform and once again I got the sudden need to go to the toilet...oh no, in the train station!! But surprisingly the toilet was relatively clean and western I informed Tom upon my return, demanding the hand sanitiser still.

    At around 11pm the train pulled into the station, we got on our carriage in complete darkness and found our beds. Tom was 35, bottom and I was 36 top. We got straight into our bunks, tried to get comfy and get some sleep before arriving in Ajmer.
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  • Day48

    Exlploring Udaipur on foot

    February 22 in India ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    We woke up at 8am, with the Indians in our room having a conversation at volume 100%, because they can’t do anything quietly. Up on the rooftop for 8:15 to wait for our free hostel breakfast. However, unlike yesterday we were not the only ones on the rooftop today so had to eat a normal amount today. We went for a walk to find some mopeds to rent today, however, we were unsuccessful and apparently all the mopeds were rented today...we tried our hostel and they said the same thing. We quickly moved around our plans for today, booked a moped for tomorrow through the hostel and then set off for Lake Sagar, about 2km away. After walking for about 2 minutes, Tom had placed his foot foot into the largest and wettest cow poo ever... today wasn’t going our way. After a little while we got to the lake, it was nice and much more local than Lake Pichola. We chilled out at a park near the water for a little while and then decided to walk a bit further to a nicer park. On the way we saw a Kayak competition taking place so we sat and cheered for a random team and then continued.

    We arrived at Saheliyon-Ki-Bari and when we realised you had to pay in we walked to a nearby park built onto a roundabout. There was a nice pond in the middle where you could rent out pedalos. We chilled here for a little while looking into Nepal, and whether we would need to get additional insurance or not...it was looking like it could cost us up to £600 each to get insured!! After an hour or two chilling on the grass we made our way back to Udaipur City Palace to check out the outside areas surrounding the place that you had to buy a separate ticket for. We chilled out here on the grass where we eventually got an answer about our travel insurance after talking directly with our insurance company, we didn’t need additional insurance to trek around Nepal!! This actually made us very happy and made me feel like we’d saved so much money! With a spring in our step we made our way back to the hostel rooftop where we watched sunset and then went for a dinner Thali with the Germans that we had met. The food was great again! Back to hostel, chilled out some more and then went to bed.
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  • Day47

    Udaipur Shiva Festival

    February 21 in India ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    We were both awake by 8am and made our way up to the roof terrace to wait for our free breakfast. We were a little early but didn’t mind as we both really liked the view from the terrace. When breakfast came we kept eating more and more, the poor guy who worked at the hostel had to keep bringing more...we had 2 boiled eggs, 4 curry toasties and about half a loaf of bread worth of jam on toast (Jammie dodger jam). Very satisfied and now fuelled for the day we left our hostel and made our way across the bridge, it was a gorgeous day, clear blue skies and a nice warm temperature.

    Today was the Hindu festival of Shivaratri, a festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. We walked through the colourful streets and our first stop of the day was Jagdish temple, a large Hindu temple raised on a tall terrace that you had to climb up to via very steep stairs, plastered with beggars and people trying to sell us tat. Upon entering the temple there was a nice atmosphere, obviously fuelled by today’s festivities. There were people sat around a shrine in the centre of the temple singing and playing instruments, which we watched for a little while before walking round the rest of the old temple. Back onto the streets we then made our way over to the City Palace, however before we got there we were blocked by a large group of Hindu people dancing and singing in the street to incredibly loud music. We watched as they had their party and then went to look at getting tickets for the city palace. It was 300 rupees which we thought was quite a lot, but it was one of the main things to do here so we went for it. Inside the palace was quite busy, with it being the festival today. There were loads of Indians, so we sat and let the majority of them feed through before we started our walk round. The palace was really well kept, and pretty interesting as each reigning Maharaja had added bits onto it over a period of 400 years so each bit was different. We were enjoying it as the palace was nice and cool with amazing views out over Pichola Lake and the rest of Udaipur. However, we quickly became annoyed at pretty much everyone else in the palace as all they seemed to want was a picture of themselves in front of some artefact, without even looking at it or taking it in. We were ushered out the way numerous times for one of these photo shoots which we felt was a bit silly...but Indians love a picture of themselves.

    We spend a good three or four hours at the palace before we left to check out a viewpoint we’d seen on maps.me. It was a pretty easy walk to the bottom of it and not too hot, so we started to climb. There was a cable car you could take up, but you couldn’t get to this viewpoint. On the way up we saw a. Abandoned pink tower which had a little rooftop, so we went off the path and clambered up the hillside to get to it. Up three flights of stairs and to the roof and we were treated to an amazing view of the lakes, palace, and temples of Udaipur. After a bit, we climbed even higher up try hill to get the sunset view.m and found these two pagoda things which seemed to have the best view of the city. We were up here quite early for the sunset, but we got some really nice pictures and just watched the scenery change as the sun went down. It was absolutely gorgeous, and as it got darker the city palace and other buildings started to get lit up.

    After soaking it all up, we made our way down (via the top of the pink tower again) and then began the walk back to the hostel. On the way back, this man on a bike pulled up and showed us a WhatsApp text, it had words like ‘bull’ and ‘guys’ and ‘massage’ in it at a quick glance. We walked on, but I turned to Tom and insisted that was some sort of sexual offering. He wasn’t so sure, but I was certain. Out of curiosity, we slowed down a bit and sure enough the man stopped next to us again. We asked him what he wanted and he plainly responded saying “I want sex, you have sex with my wife”. We were speechless and couldn’t actually believe what he said. He then clarified and said that he and his wife were swingers...we had to politely decline his offer but wished him luck. After this, we were really keen for food, so stopped at a place which looked busy, always a good sign, and we decided we’d get a mixture of dishes after we’d had thali for what felt like weeks. We got vegetable pakora, this guys own veg biriyani and a peanut masala, the latter of which arrived with a flame coming out of it! All the food was amazing and safe to say we gobbled it all up.

    As it was the Shiva Festival today in Udaipur there was a load of people now out on the streets and we got offered this creamy/green drink. This western guy said to me that it wasn’t strong, so we both took a cup. When we drank it we couldn’t even taste any alcohol, so it must have been really weak. It wasn’t the nicest of drinks, so Tom only had a little bit, whilst I had the whole thing as we were in front of the guys who gave it to us and I didn’t want to seem rude. We walked up the street so Tom could dump his in the bin, as two kids followed us desperate for the drink but Tom refused to give it to them. We made it back to the hostel finally and went to the rooftop to chill out for a bit. Up there we met an English girl and a Finnish guy and we were all just chatting about generic travel stuff. It was at this point I started to feel a bit weird in my stomach and I immediately thought the drink had poisoned me. However, I then overheard the Finnish guy say that the drink the locals give out on the street is a ‘special lassi’. In other words it’s a drink laced with marijuana. I hadn’t been poisoned, I’d got accidentally high. Tom has looked over to me and I was in fits of giggles at absolutely nothing at all...at least I was happy high and not depressed. Everything made me laugh, even the name of the state we were in ‘Rajasthan’ and even more so the people called ‘Rajasthani’s’ nearly had me on the floor. This went on for a while, and even Tom started to just laugh, more so at the state I was in. We went downstairs as I had some chocolate biscuits, so we demolished them and then decided we’d go on a midnight hunt for Oreos. We went down to the main door, and it was shut, but couldn’t be locked as you can’t lock people in or out of a hostel. We spent about 5 minutes pushing and pulling, looking for a lever, trying to twist bolts and pulling chains that were on this door but for the life of us we couldn’t figure it out! We had to find and ask the hostel manager how you open the door and he just said ‘slide them’...actually so simple. We got our Oreos smashed them and then duly went to bed. It had been a long and eventful day, but a fun evening.
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  • Day46

    Exploring Udaipur City

    February 20 in India ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    I woke up at around 8am with 40km still to go until Udaipur. I had a really good nights sleep! I opened the curtain watching the world go by and then put a film on until the bus conductor loudly started screaming “Udaipur, Udaipur” with a lot of other incomprehensible words. We got off the bus where we got an Ola to take us to our hostel for only 27 rupees thanks to my online discount. The hostel was right in the middle of Udaipur, on the island connected by bridges on Pichola lake.

    We found our hostel, Whereabout Hostel, checked in and then chilled out on their roof terrace which had an awesome view of Pichola lake. We read through some of the Lonely Planet books which were there to get a better sense of what what here in Udaipur as we hadn’t done much research about here. After a little while our room was ready for us to check in, so we dumped our bags and then went to grab some lunch at a place called “Queen Cafe” that we had read about in Lonely Planet book. This place was tiny, and run by these two old people and their daughter Meera who also did a cooking school. As it turned out, Meera also did the cooking for the cafe and soon after ordering she brought us two biriyani. It was a bit odd as she just sat there and watched us eat the food, clearly doing the hard sell on her cooking school. After the food, she even insisted on taking us to her kitchen to show us where we’d cook. We were up for the idea, but it was so expensive so we would consider it long and hard.

    We walked around the old part of the town over the little bridges which connected little islands and lakes and we were quite surprised at how pretty it was here after coming from Mumbai. Even though we’d had some good sleep on the bus, we were still quite tired, so we went to the hostel rooftop and had a little planning session for Udaipur and the next few places we were going. We knew of this view point which overlooked the Palace Island Hotel to watch the sun go down. This was a place which had been a main filming point in James Bond Octopussy and it was really nice and quite grand.

    By this point we were quite hungry, and looked around a few different parts of town but they were all quite expensive. So we went back to near our hostel and got a Thali for 120 rupees. We were sold, and it was all fresh too, so we sat down and almost immediately there was a power-cut. Luckily the guy doing our cooking was creating enough light with the occasion flame up of his pan, so it didn’t delay our food. The power came back on and we were served an enormous thali which was delicious. We went back to the rooftop and tried to watch Slumdog Millionaire on the iPad, but there was no subtitles and half of it was in Hindi...oh well, so we just headed to bed for a good sleep.
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  • Day45

    Mumbai plan day and night bus to Udaipur

    February 19 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Today we were in no rush at all. We’d seen what we wanted to see in Mumbai, so we had a big fat lie in and a leisurely get up and warm shower. Today was our last day in Mumbai so we needed to check out by 10:30, so we packed up our stuff and chilled in the common area for a little while. We dedicated some time this morning/afternoon to planning what we would do for the next few weeks as well as book flights into Nepal. We spent a few hours researching and adding things to the plan before we both got hungry and went back to our trusty street food man for Chinese Bhel for the last time.

    Tonight we were getting the bus to Udaipur, as our waiting list tickets for the train hadn’t come through. Rather than suffer a 17 hour journey on a train in general class again, we’d booked a luxury bus with our own TVs, films and all the trimmings. It would take just as long as the train, but hopefully we’d get some decent sleep. We went out to get snacks for the bus, the standard crisps, biscuits and bananas before going back to the hostel to chill out before it was time to grab an Ola (Indian Uber) to the pickup spot. The pickup location on the RedBus app was just at the side of the motorway, so we waited for a little while keeping track of the buses location...it was on its way to us, just very slowly. Eventually the bus pulled up, it was a different model bus to what it said online so we wanted to check that it was going to Udaipur, the man grunted at us and ushered us on. We found our beds and set up camp for the night. I must admit, it was certainly worth spending a little bit more money for a bit of comfort on these long journeys.

    After watching Mission Impossible Fallout (great film!) the bus stopped in a random location to refuel and where we could try and get some proper food as we were only had snack...we had tried to get something a few times before but there was just crisps and junk! This time was equally unsuccessful, however even more so as the bus loudly sounded its horn and began to drive off...without us! Tom was faster than me to react and sprinted to the bus and started banging the door until he stopped to let us on. We were not happy at the driver at all and I had a go at him saying that they need to communicate better with their passengers, in response he just grunted at me... back to bed then.

    A little while later we stopped at a slightly more official looking place that were actually selling proper food. We both got 2 samosas, devoured them and then a friendly Indian guy asked us if we wanted to try his crisps...we both tried a few and they were nice, and then the guy decided that he was going to give the entire packet to us, what a gent! We got back on the bus and I passed out for the night in the extremely comfy beds.
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